Your First Solo – an Experience You Will Never Forget

Mike Camelin - First soloI was reminded today of what it was like. Yes, it was a long time ago, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday. My first solo!

Just like the young gentleman that soloed here for the first time today, I too had my struggles and my fair-share of “ups-and-downs” leading up to my first solo. In fact, I recall on one lesson where the controller came on the radio and asked if I was mad at the runway or something. On another lesson, the controller (perhaps the same one) reminded me that the rodeo had ended the previous week.

They say a good landing is one you can walk away from, and a great landing is one where you can use the airplane again. That in mind, my landings were mediocre at best.

That poor little Cessna 152!

But then it happened. Just like so many pilots had told me that it would. That Eureka moment! I got it! So that’s how you do it?

It seemed like it took me forever to get to that point. And my flight instructor had more gray hairs when it finally happened, than what he had when we first started, but we eventually got there.

For me anyway, there was (and is) no pat answer to it. Oh yes, there is a science to it; aerodynamics, airspeed, decent angle, flare, and all that technical stuff, but the truth of it is, it’s more of an art than a science – landing the airplane successfully that is.

Well, it was a journey. At times it was an emotional journey. I entertained the idea of quitting more than once….but I stuck with it, and can tell you from experience that the overwhelming feeling of elation and sense of accomplishment when you finally do solo for the first time is worth every bit of the effort!

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